Ove Sutter

“Welcome!”

Emotional politics and civic engagements for refugees

Shortlink: https://www.waxmann.com/artikelART102170

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Abstract

During the so-called „European refugee crisis“ in 2015, when rising numbers of migrants arrived in the European Union, numerous volunteers all over Europe participated in humanitarian aid activities for refugees. Drawing on an ethnographic case study of self-organized voluntary activity that occurred at the main station of a medium-sized German town, I discuss the emotional politics of civic engagement for refugees. I argue that by employing objects, performative practices, and media representations, the participants created a framework of meaning which provided emotionalized perceptions and interpretations of the event. In doing so, the volunteers were involved in the migration management of public authorities while simultaneously contesting migration policies and extremist right-wing politics.

Keywords
civic engagement, civil society, volunteering, political activism, emotions, migration, policy, welcome culture